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"Everything should be as simple as possible ... but no simpler." -- Albert Einstein
The Occam's Razor principle, commonly attributed to William of Occam (early 14th centry), states: "No more things should be presumed to exist than are absolutely necessary." (Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem -- Entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity.) This priciple is generally applied in designing an inductive learning algorithm as: "Given the choice between theories that are equally consistent with the observed phenomena, prefer the simplest." -- Mark A. Hall's PhD Thesis "Correlation-based Feature Selection for Machine Learning."

The classic mistake that engineers make is to talk about features, not benefits. Engineers will talk about the technology and assume that people will know why it's important and believe that it works. But it doesn't work that way. It is not very difficult -- it's trivial compared to the technology stuff. But inventors need to have absolute clarity about what their message is: what's the benefit, what's the reason to believe, what's the dramatic difference -- Doug Hall, 2006

"A.I. cannot avoid philosophy. If a computer program is to behave intelligently in the real world, it must be provided with some kind of framework into which to fit particularly facts it is told or discovers. This amounts to at least a fragment of some kind of philosophy, however naive." -- John McCarthy
"If you invented a breakthrough in artificial intelligence, so machines can learn that is worth 10 Microsofts." -- Bill Gates (NY Times, March 3, 2004)
Many people are fond of saying, "They will never make a machine to replace the human mind - it does many things which no machine could ever do." A beautiful answer to this was given by John von Neumann, "But of course, a mere machine can't really think, can it?", "You insist that there is something a machine cannot do. If you will tell me precisely what it is that a machine cannot do, then I can always make a machine which will do just that!" -- E.T. Jaynes's Probability Theory: The Logic of Science
"The only real limitations on making "machines which think" are our own limitations in not knowing exactly what "thinking" consists of." -- John von Neumann
"Our theory posits internal mechanisms of great extent and complexity, and endeavors to make contact between them and the visible evidence of problem solving. That is all there is to it." -- Newell and Simon, Human Problem Solving, 1972.
"It is a good morning exercise for a research scientist to discard a pet hypothesis every day before breakfast - It keeps him young." -- Konrad Lorenz.
"Premature optimization is the root of all evil (or at least most of it) in programming." -- Donald Knuth.
"The great tragedy of Science: The slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact." -- Thomas Huxley.
"It wasn't until late in life that I discovered how easy it is to say `I don't know'." -- Somerset Maugham.
"When explaining a command, or language feature, or hardware widget, first describe the problem it is designed to solve." -- David Martin.
"If a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing well - unless doing it well takes so long that it isn't worth doing any more. Then you just do it `good enough'." -- Wall and Schwartz, Programming Perl.
"Crude classifications and false generalizations are the curse of the organized life." -- Wells, H.G.
"Human beings, viewed as behaving systems are quite simple. The apparent complexity of our behavior over time is largely a reflection of the complexity of the environment in which we find ourselves." -- Herbert Simon, Sciences of the Artificial.
"Don't ask what it means, but rather how it is used." -- Ludwig Wittgenstein.
"Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language." -- Ludwig Wittgenstein.
"Don't worry about what anybody else is going to do... The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Really smart people with reasonable funding can do just about anything that doesn't violate too many of Newton's Laws" -- Alan Kay, 1971.
"Mathematics takes us into the region of absolute necessity, to which not only the actual word, but every possible word, must conform." -- Bertrand Russell.
"Intelligence is what you use when you don't know what to do." -- Jean Piaget.
"One is an accident, two is a coincidence, and three is a trend." -- A timeworn statistical maxim.
"It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows." -- Epictetus.
"There is nothing more practical than a good theory." -- Gustav Robert Kirchhoff (?), Vladimir N. Vapnik, 1995.
"The probability is the only sensible description of uncertainty and is adequate for all problems involving uncertainty. All other methods are inadequate." -- Lindley, 1987.
"If all you have in your toolbox is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail." -- Anonymous.
"It is preoccupation with possession, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly," -- Bertrand Russell.
"Don't spend your time tunning your instrument. Start making music now!", Anonymous, from one of those quotes in fortune cookies.
"The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been before. Creativity in living is not without its attendant difficulties, for peculiarity breeds contempt. And the unfortunate thing about being ahead of your time is that when people finally realize you were right, they'll say it was obvious all along. You have two choices in life: You can dissolve into the mainstream, or you can be distinct. To be distinct is to be different. To be different, you must strive to be what no one else but you can be." -- Alan Ashley-Pitt
"A wise man once said: Life is 10% of the cards you're given, and 90% of what you do with them," -- Anonymous.
"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted," Randy Pausch in his last lecture, 09-21-2007
Gracious professionalism can and should mean different things to each of us. It is possible, however, to outline some of its meanings:
  • Gracious attitudes and behaviors are "win-win."
  • Gracious folks respect others and let that respect show in their actions,
  • Gracious professionals make a valued contribution in a manner pleasing to others and to themselves as they possess special knowledge and are trusted by society to use that knowledge responsibly,
In the long run, gracious professionalism is part of pursuing a meaningful life. One can add to society and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that you have acted with integrity and sensitivity. -- 2007 First Lego League Judges' Manual
"If you are afraid to try something until you are perfectly certain that everything is going to work about it, then by the time you do it, somebody else will have done it as well, so if you are going to be an innovator, you have to be willing to take some risk." -- Kenneth Dunn
"We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained." -- Madame Curie
 Do we really use only 10 percent of our brains?, Scientific American, Mar 9, 2004.
 You, Robot (Hans Moravec), Scientific American, Dec 20, 2004.
 Mindful of Symbols, Scientific American, July 25, 2005, ...On the way to learning that one thing can represent another, young children often conflate the real item and its symbol. These errors show how difficult it is to start thinking symbolically...
 Skin cancer rates on the rise among young people, Scientific American, Aug 10, 2005.
 Flexible 'E-skin' could endow robots with humanlike sense of touch, Scientific American, Aug 16, 2005.
 Americans and Chinese differ in their world view -- literally, Scientific American, Aug 23, 2005
 Ten ways to build your toddler's self-esteem, by Sarah Henry, Parent Center Bulletin board on Development.
 Innovations from a Robot Rally, Scientific American, Jan 10, 2006
 The 50 Best Robot Ever, Wired, Jan 2006
 How do antibiotics kill bacterial cells but not human cells?, Scientific American, March 14, 2006
 Why do we yawn when we are tired? And why does it seem to be contagious?, Scientific American, March 21, 2006.
 Babies can learn words as early as 10 months, Scientific American, March 22, 2006
 Scientists identify brain region responsible for calculating risk versus reward, Scientific American, June 15, 2006. (They showed how RL works medically!)
 Math without words, Scientific American, June 20, 2005.
 Why do we dream?, Scientific American, July 11, 2006
 What causes insomnia?, Scientific American, July 20, 2006
 Resilient robot hobbles along, even if injured, Scientific American, Nov 16, 2006
 What is the significance of "E=mc^2?" Scientific American, May 01, 2007
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Last modified: Sep 24, 2006